Submitted by Rev. Dr. Don Longbottom, Conference Minister
February 17, 1980, was an exciting day in the life of the Longbottom’s. Jason Robert Longbottom came bursting into this world. He was a smiling baby and well cared for by his mother. Jason made the fourth child and I undertook the necessary alterations to ensure no more children.
June 26th, 1980 we lost Jason. It was harsh, devastating and final. I was 29 years of age and count that day as the beginning of my adulthood. Grief is a funny thing in that it comes and goes. Time helps but grief is not entirely chronological. Sometimes a sound, a smell, a song can bring the past into collision with the present. But somehow, thankfully, the Spirit can transform the moment.
My youngest son Joseph, a wonderful musician and school principal, would never have existed but for the passing of Jason and the intervention of modern medicine. So 40 years later, Lennon James Longbottom, son of Joseph and Irene, was born the night before Jason’s birthday. Do you believe in coincidence?
Despite dragging my children all over the country, I have been blessed with wonderful children. Each carries values that make me proud. Joseph is a good and decent man and I am thankful beyond words. Here comes the weird piece. Even if I had the power I would not change the events that led to his birth. Life is indeed a circle of mortality and resurrection. I have no way to explain…so I trust God.
When I hazard a look back upon the montage of my life, it is only then that I see with clarity the hand of God at work. Please understand, I could never serve a God who would take the life of an innocent child. This is a question I will present to the Almighty on the other side of the grave but it’s not the question here. Looking back upon my life, I see the presence of a life-giving Creator who knows us and loves each of us. My sense is that grace pervades our human experience. Certainly one could take issue with this perspective from a social justice perspective. But not infrequently the oppressed possess a greater sense of joy than the rich.
So, on this day in the year 2020, I give my Creator thanks for this new life in my family.
May God make of young Lennon a good man. May he change this world for the better and make his family proud.
Dr. Don Longbottom